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Spirit Ridge: The Best Wine List in the Okanagan

As written by Leslie Buxton for Wine Trails, March 2020

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Last spring, Spirit Ridge Resort began another episode in its exciting story with the opening of a new restaurant:  The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry.  The restaurant is named in honor of the Okanagan people’s legend of the Four Food Chiefs – Skimxist (Bear), Ntytikxw (Salmon), Speetlum (Bitterroot) and Seeya (Saskatoon Berry) – and how they worked together to feed the people-to-be.

The legend is the foundation of the restaurant.  It exemplifies the principles behind executive chef Murray McDonald’s desire to create delicious meals that pay homage to the resort’s Indigenous roots, fuelled by the seasons. 

South Okanagan Wines

In keeping with these values, the restaurant’s wine list is exclusively South Okanagan, a nod to the resort’s neighbours and the unique terroir of the region.  “It’s hyper-local and very dynamic,” says Daniel Bibby, the executive director and general manager of the resort.

Don’t get the idea that this means the selection is limited – it’s quite the opposite.  From small-batch wineries like Fairview Cellars to household names like Inniskillin, the list is filled with variety.  Here’s a small sampling of the white: Road 13’s Chenin Blanc, Corcelettes’ Gewurztraminer and Meyer Family Vineyard’s Tribute Chardonnay.  The reds are just as vibrant.  Samle a glass of Moon Curser’s Border Vines, Lariana Cellars’ Carmenere or Black Hills’ Note Bene. 

With so much choice, it’s hard to know where to begin.  It feels as if one could almost do a wine tour in the comfort of the restaurant.  It’s a great way to find your new favourite wine and decide where to visit next.

The restaurant is famed for its winemakers’ dinners.  Last season featured an evening with Howard Soon of Vanessa Vineyards, who was being honoured for receiving the Order of Canada.

There’s also a Harvest Moon dinner planned with Moon Curser Vineyards, a winery on the East Bench of Osoyoos known for their Touriga Nacional and their Tempranillo. 

Osoyoos Oyster Festival 2020

Osoyoos’s nine annual Oyster Festival runs April 18 – 26.  This exceptional event teams up award-winning Okanagan wines with ethically sourced fresh oysters and seafood for a week of gourmet bliss.

On April 26, Spirit Ridge will host the festival’s gala event with a night of fresh seafood prepared by seven top chefs in the region:  Spirit Ridge’s own chef, Murray McDonald; Andrea Callan from the Red Fox Club at Indigenous World Winery; Eric Pateman from Edible Canada; Rob Clarke from Ocean Wise; Jon Crofts from Codfathers Seafood; Paul Natrall from Mr. Bannock’ and Derek Gray from Row Fourteen.

Attendees can also enjoy cocktails, local wine and live entertainment.  Tickets are $89 plus tax. Book now, as this promises to be one of the best parties of the season.